Several months after gunman Omar Mateen killed 49 people at Orlando’s Pulse nightclub — at the time, the deadliest mass shooting (which has since been eclipsed by Stephen Paddock’s Las Vegas massacre) in modern U.S. history — the FBI arrested Mateen’s wife, Noor Salman. The feds soon charged her with providing material support to a foreign terrorist organization (the bureau had declared that Mateen was radicalized with confused motives) along with obstruction of justice. CNN now reports that Salman has now been acquitted on all charges related to the nightclub shooting.
A jury deliberated for two days before acquitting Salman, who admitted to the FBI that she knew Mateen was violent and possibly planning something. Her statement to the bureau — including “I wish I had done the right thing but my fear held me back. I wish I had been more truthful” — was read aloud in court. Regardless, her attorneys argued that not only was she not involved in carrying out the massacre, she wasn’t aware of his impending actions. She’s now clear:
A visibly anxious Salman, wearing a dark suit, stood in court as the verdict was read. One of her uncles, seated in court behind her, stifled a sob as relatives held one another.
“We are so grateful to them, so grateful for their verdict,” Susan Clary, the spokeswoman for Salman’s family, said outside court. “She can go home now and try to pick up the pieces.”
Amid the prosecution of Salman, our friends at the Intercept spoke to a Salman relative, who revealed how Noor had suffered years of domestic abuse from her husband. Likewise, USA Today reports that Salman’s attorneys discussed how she feared Mateen’s violent ways (she told FBI agents that Mateen had viewed jihadi beheading videos and was practicing shooting at ranges) and had a low IQ. All along, her attorneys maintained that she couldn’t possibly have known the true nature of his plans because he used concealment and fear tactics to intimidate her throughout their marriage. The jury agreed.